In the bleak hours of an afternoon in Spain,
I sprung free from my grandpa’s kitchen,
the smells of peppermints and pears, and headed
to town for an afternoon of people watching.
The streets were hand-cut paper forests, flush
with tawny kids in flat sandals and psychedelic
friendship bracelets. Feminine footwear obsessives
in custom-made minis smoothed on rice vapor
lotion, delicate contessas fit for a summer wedding,
see-through and filigreed. I dreamed of leaving home
for an evening at the Tropicana, sexy and dazzling
in a glamorous dress—understated, ethnic girl
plucked from an under-the-radar haven; someone’s
graceful holy grail, soft ephemera on his fingers.
I could write a paper on the topic of lip balms,
groovy grandma that I am. With ’60s playfulness
and a flapper’s flounce, I stick to the Great Gatsby,
intensive scalp treatments, and statement-making
tchotchkes. Cat boxes and flea markets don’t
satisfy me; I roll around in sea foam suede, take my
Rolls Royce on an unexpected trek around Morocco.
I’m more of a jump-or-you’ll-miss-it haute hippie,
a sucker for patent trim and embroidered-in-Bali
sequined corsets. I’m looking for a biker-gone-boho
grandpa—rugged but genteel, with an air of London
street-cool—for stomping through exotic gardens,
splurging on tie-dyed wedding cake. Two spicy,
rock-and-roll piglets rubbing bohemian noses.
How often can you wear a bleeding heart
and get away with it? I spend most of my time
getting calls from complete strangers who want
to run around with a Fitzgerald heroine, architectural
and sweet, unbearably twee—or an unstoppable
rock star, a morbid candy-colored centerpiece,
loose and right at home in a disheveled bed.
I step into another world and feel like nothing;
off-hours, I’m a timid violet with a limp handshake
that peeks out of my coat sleeves. No one ever
detects the potential of a wispy girl lost in her clothes,
so I audition for drama, slip on some sugar. The line
between adorable and alarming gets thin, thin, thin.
I slouch and watch the layers flutter, lit from within.
About the Book: Getting Lucky is a collection of sonnets culled from the editorial copy of Lucky, a newsstand publication about shopping and style. By adopting the magazine’s gendered and glossy language, Nicole’s poems explore contemporary ideals of beauty and femininity, as well as female-specific narratives we see in media, culture, and everyday life.
Editor’s Note: Let’s Get Lucky! It’s a beautiful love story. A small press dedicated to publishing women poets meets the kind of witty, thoughtful, cheeky gal whose poems literally step out of the pages of a fashion magazine. Both are determined to give voice to the underrepresented. In seeking out a luminary to spearhead today’s female poetry contingent, the publisher finds a poetess who brings the cultural misogyny inherent in today’s society to its knees. While wearing a fabulous pair of heels.
The arts, in America today, are in grave peril. Poetry in particular is under-read and scathingly underrated. A Corporatocracy is on the rise, and the core of humanity is being marginalized. There is no money in art, and less money for the arts. Those of us who write poetry, who publish poetry, do so out of pure love and unwavering passion. We depend on our community for support—to read our work and to enable its very existence.
Getting Lucky is a fantastic, cutting-edge book that critiques the culture of fashion and shallow materialism by giving feminism a whole new meaning. Spooky Girlfriend Press is a self-described “tiny two-person operation” with huge vision and an impressive track record of publishing forward-thinking, critically-acclaimed works. The two have come together to make magic, to make dreams come true, and they need your help.
Via Indiegogo, a crowdfunding platform that empowers ideas, Spooky Girlfriend Press has started a campaign to fund the making of Getting Lucky. Take a stand for art today. Show the world that poetry matters. Help the voiceless sing from the rooftops. Our government is not going to do it. Big corporations are not going to do it. It is you—readers of poetry, writers of poetry, lovers of the underdog, believers in vision and heart—who are going to make the difference. Donate to this campaign today and let’s Get Lucky!
Nicole Steinberg is the author the forthcoming collection Getting Lucky (Spooky Girlfriend Press, 2013) and Birds of Tokyo (dancing girl press, 2011), and the editor of Forgotten Borough: Writers Come to Terms with Queens (SUNY Press, 2011). She is also the founder and former curator of Earshot, a New York reading series for emerging writers. She hails from Queens, New York and currently lives in Philadelphia.
Help Nicole Steinberg and Spooky Girlfriend Press Get Lucky!
Donate to Getting Lucky‘s Indiegogo Campaign